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Inflation for U.S. colleges and universities rose 4 percent in fiscal year 2023, according to data from the annual Commonfund Higher Education Price Index released Wednesday. It’s the second-highest rate of inflation since fiscal year 2008, when the HEPI was at 5 percent.

HEPI has been tracking inflation in higher education since 1961. It is mostly used to project budget increases required to preserve purchasing power and is considered a more accurate indicator of cost changes for higher education institutions than the Consumer Price Index, according to a news release.

While last fiscal year’s overall inflation rate of 5.2 percent was higher than this year’s, half of the components HEPI tracks (faculty salaries, administrative salaries, fringe benefits, miscellaneous services) saw increased inflation rates. Faculty salaries, which are the most heavily weighted component (35 percent) among all eight, jumped from 2.1 percent during fiscal year 2022 to 4 percent in fiscal year 2023. Administrative salaries, which are weighted 11 percent in HEPI’s calculation formula, increased from 2.9 percent to 4.1 percent in the same time frame.

The four components that saw decreased inflation rates compared to last year were clerical costs, service employees, supplies and materials, and utilities. The utilities category saw the biggest decrease, from a historically high rate of 43.1 percent in fiscal 2022 to a deflationary -3.7 percent in FY 2023. During the same time frame, supplies and materials inflation decreased from 21.5 percent to 7.3 percent.

Costs increased 4.5 percent at private institutions compared to 3.8 percent at public institutions.